A Lenape among the Quakers


A Lenape among the Quakers

The Life of Hannah Freeman

Dawn G. Marsh

230 pages
3 photographs, 6 illustrations, 4 maps, 2 appendixes


May 2017


$17.95 Add to Cart

March 2014


$27.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

March 2014


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

March 2014


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

On July 28, 1797, an elderly Lenape woman stood before the newly appointed almsman of Pennsylvania’s Chester County and delivered a brief account of her life. In a sad irony, Hannah Freeman was establishing her residency—a claim that paved the way for her removal to the poorhouse. Ultimately, however, it meant final removal from the ancestral land she had so tenaciously maintained. Thus was William Penn’s “peaceable kingdom” preserved. 

A Lenape among the Quakers reconstructs Freeman’s history, from the days of her grandmothers before European settlement to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The story that emerges is one of persistence and resilience, as “Indian Hannah” negotiates life with the Quaker neighbors who employ her, entrust their children to her, seek out her healing skills, and, when she is weakened by sickness and age, care for her. Yet these are the same neighbors whose families then dispossess her own. Fascinating in its own right, Freeman’s life is also remarkable as a unique account of a Native American woman in a colonial community during a time of dramatic transformation and upheaval. In particular, it expands our understanding of colonial history and the Native experience that history often renders silent.

Author Bio

Dawn G. Marsh is an associate professor of history at Purdue University. 


“Clear and compelling. . . . Through the life of Hannah Freeman, Marsh places the mythology of Penn’s peaceable kingdom in stark relief.”—Jean R. Soderlund, Western Historical Quarterly

"A thoughtful documentation of one woman's struggle to maintain her ancestral homeland."—Booklist

“In a genre that so often focuses on the lives of politically significant ‘great men’ (and occasionally women), we rarely learn of the lives of the marginalized, but this is exactly what historian Dawn G. Marsh has attempted. A Lenape among the Quakers is a scathing indictment of the hypocrisy of Quakers’ professions of peace while engaged in a land grab.”—Michelle LeMaster, Ethnohistory

“Engagingly written—and impassioned as Marsh clearly chastises Hannah Freeman’s Quaker neighbors for their hypocrisy in promoting friendly relations with indigenous neighbors and landowners, while facilitating their dispossession.”—Gunlog Fur, Journal of the Early Republic

“With great insight and sensitivity, Dawn Marsh has pieced together Hannah Freeman’s story. All who have ever wondered what happened to Pennsylvania’s Native people should read this book.”—Nancy Shoemaker, author of A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America

“Using the closely examined life of a single eighteenth-century Native American woman, Dawn Marsh convincingly challenges Pennsylvania’s claim to a more just and humane treatment of its indigenous peoples, persuasively contending that Native Americans adopted complex strategies to preserve their cultural heritage, and explores the significance of the continuing mythology of ‘Indian Hannah’ Freeman—all in a good read.”—Melton McLaurin, author of Celia, A Slave

“Marsh makes commendable use of the scant documentary evidence to piece together Hannah Freeman’s life. Her painstaking efforts to give Hannah a voice are impressive.” Thomas Britten, The Historian

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. The Examination of Hannah Freeman     

Chapter 2. All Our Grandmothers                  

Chapter 3. The Peaceable Kingdom                 

Chapter 4. Lenapehoking Lost                     

Chapter 5. Kindness Extended                   

Chapter 6. The Betrayal                         


Appendix 1. The Examination of Indian Hannah alias Hannah Freeman
Appendix 2. Kindness Extended

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